Positive Attititude | Teen Ink

Positive Attititude

November 14, 2008
By Justtosubmit? GOLD, San Francisco, California
Justtosubmit? GOLD, San Francisco, California
11 articles 0 photos 0 comments

I have used my rolling chair since my first day, eight years ago. Now the very top scratches the back of my head, chafing and worrying the white skin. There were doctors, and support groups to tell me about every aspect of my new life as a "survivor" and I thought that I kept myself very well composed during the initial treatment, I wasn't afraid of the vomiting, or the shakes (all in your head), or even the crowds of people, who tripped over each-other to hug me. No one had told me about this.

I should be very grateful that I am in remission. My support group suggests that my family and I celebrate and "cherish" (this word is very popular) this time. I think that if my wife and I went to dinner to celebrate this, or brought out a cake, then I would cry right there. Just start sobbing on the floor. My hair will grow back soon, though I'm still being medicated for another few weeks. It'll be about back to where it started when they buzz it again.

I'll be here for another hour, scurrying like a rat to avoid eye contact when I need paper, hurrying down familiar halls on legs that don't feel like mine, until it is time for my check in, when I will climb white knuckled into my car to drive to the hospital, where they will see me to my doctor, and I will wear a gown again, and I will adjust the necktie the way I always do, and I will be lead by cooing doctor's and nurses through all of the different rooms, squinting against the glare of the lights, wincing from foreign touches. After a sort of poor man's cat scan, I'll be handed my clothes, and I'll drive back to work in time to do absolutely nothing (keep your life as close to normal as possible) and then I'll drive home to tell my wife that I'm fine, and I'll show her the paper's that say so, and she'll nod like she doesn't quite trust me, and she'll look at the little form for a good ten minutes, like every day there's a secret message that says "Henry's cancer has spread suddenly since we saw him on Monday, and he's secretly going to die tonight."

Each night, before the mirror, I run a hand down my face, bones click together through thin flesh on my cheekbones, and on my jaw. I don't look like the average cancer patient- that is to say I'm not as pathetic as average. This is not a good thing. In a group of dying people, the pecking order is simple. Whoever is dying the fastest, whoever is dying the loudest, gets to talk about themselves the most. I am the least piteous of the pathetic, and for that they exclude me.

That's not to say my face and body aren't wasted. They are. But while I can feel each rib, I don't feel that thin. I'm pale, but there's no way that I could be dying. Shrunken limbs still have vitality. I've only gone down two pant sizes. There's no way I'm dying.

Similar Articles


This article has 1 comment.

SallyRubin said...
on Nov. 19 2008 at 5:21 pm
Terrific! I can feel myself inside his skin. Great job!